It's two salads in one--a hearty, spicy mixture of lentils and eggplant and a crisp, cool combination of cucumber and tomato. Each is fine by itself, but they're even better when served together.
1 cup lentils
5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup bulgur
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled, quartered, and sliced thin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
4 scallions, white bulbs only, sliced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
1 tomato, diced
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, 3 1/2 cups of the water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and continue cooking, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and bulgur are just done, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, partially covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the eggplant and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is very tender and no liquid remains in the pan, about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir the lentil mixture, Tabasco, scallions, and half the parsley into the eggplant.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining parsley with the cucumber and tomato. Serve the lentils over the cucumber salad.
Wine Recommendation: A rich, jammy red wine, thick with fruit and lush on the palate, is just what is called for here. Turn to Australia for a shiraz or cabernet-sauvignon and shiraz blend.
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